Oct 6, 2008

what i did on my summer vacation

Posted by Mary |

A breakup forces me to look philosophically at my romantic life. I never regret anything I do in my life, and I don't regret any of my past relationships although at times I feel like I wasted time before ending things. But from each relationship, I found a lesson. Some of the bigger ones:

J.R. A high school fling. If a boy says he loves you, actions speak louder than words. For instance, if you fight and he then sleeps with a mutual friend, he probably doesn't actually love you. You are perfectly within your means to never speak to him again.
Lesson learned: Don't listen to what people say, but do pay attention to how they act.

Ted My first love. Breakups happen for a reason. You can't control when they come, but you can control how you react afterward. Fortunately, Ted provided numerous chances for me to learn this lesson, as we broke up every six months for many, many years. I got to experience some horrific breakups this way, the kind that left me sobbing and calling my sister in California for hours of consolation. But, like a fool, I took him back every time. Well, every time until the last time.
Lesson learned: It's hard to keep going down the same road. Relationships don't fail for no reason, and it's usually best to leave them broken up.

Tom My best friend. Sometimes a guy can be right for you in so many way. So very many ways, but there's still something missing. We had 5 years of mutual love and respect, and he showed me that I deserve someone who is considerate of my feelings. I still consider him my best friend and the one person who knows me better than even my family. It hurt like hell to end things, but I ended up being able to keep him.
Lesson learned: Stop dating guys you wouldn't want to be friends with. And if you value him enough, you'll want him to be happy again after the breakup, instead of hoping he'll always be miserable without you. (Even though I'm the awesomest person on Earth and he'll never be more compatible with anyone!)

Robin My recent ex. It's hard not to sum this up as a rebound fling, but I did think it was a relationship since we lasted about 6 months. Maybe I'm just getting older, but it's hard to waste time when it becomes clear that the relationship can't go anywhere.
Lesson learned: Don't waste your energy trying to make something work. The first time someone does something cruel should be the last time. This would have made me single again by June, but live and learn.

So as I re-enter the dating scene (quite literally tomorrow), I'm trying to look at my past and figure out where I've gone wrong. The big thing that jumps out is that I fall into relationships too quickly. When I meet someone I really like, I don't see the point of dating anyone else, which means I get to that "exclusive" place far too quickly. It pushes things along too fast and blinds me to other possibilities. The other big issue is the "project boyfriend," aka my-love-can-change-him. I don't want to find someone who's good is some ways but really bad in others. I don't want someone to rely on me to help them change into a better person. I want that better person now. I want someone who meets a reasonable amount of my needs, who is considerate of my feelings, and who has their shit together enough to be content in their lives. I'm tired of transitions. So my goal is pretty much the same that it was until March: Enjoy single life, date a lot, get to know a lot of people, hold off on a relationship until I'm sure it's someone I want to be with. And this time I'll make sure he's someone I would consider a friend, too.


JMS said...

Very insightful. Though I am married now, I understand exactly what you mean. :)